Impact of Wearable Devices on the Health of Learners
As human beings can be considered systems in which signals are sent and functions are performed, wearable devices are viewed as a tool to facilitate the processes of the human system (Rodriguez, de Oliveira, Nunes & de Morais, 2019). Some of these systems include the digestive system, the nervous system, and the respiratory system. Each system plays a part in regulating the body and maintaining the health of the individual. Wearable sensors allow for individuals with disabilities to interact with others in a meaningful way (Rodriguez et al., 2019). They are also being used to promote learning and the health of learners. As Nugent, Barker, Lester, Grandgenett and Valentine (2019) explain, wearable technologys integration of engineering, computing, and aesthetics promises to be an excellent interdisciplinary context to support students STEM learning and attitudes at the upper elementary level (p. 470). Other researchers have studied wearable devices for the purpose of assisting in the transference of motor skills (Camarillo-Abad, Sanchez & Starostenko, 2021). Carroll et al. (2020) have studied the utility of wearable sensors in monitoring learner engagement. All of these studies point to the trend of using wearable technology to facilitate learning.
Carroll et al. (2020) note that because distance learning and virtual learning are much more common today than in days past it is necessary to monitor learner engagement. Educators have to focus on keeping the attention of their students and one way to do that is to monitor learner engagement so as to see when students become disengaged. To assist in that process, non-invasive physiological and behavioral monitoring technology to directly assess engagement in classroom, simulation, and live training environments can be used to enable educators to understand when learners are paying attention and when their attention is lost (Carroll et al., 2020, p. 411). Wearable technology thus has utility for educators in this regard. It also has relevance in terms of learners health, particularly for students with disabilities (Camarillo-Abad et al., 2021; Nugent et al., 2019). Rodriguez et al. (2019) note for instance that wearable technology presents an opportunity to work with children using Augmented Reality games without the influence of prior knowledge (p. 2). The goal of using wearable technology in educational environments is to promote the cognitive and physical development of learners.
Wearable devices are non-invasive (Carroll et al., 2020). They are designed to monitor rather than intervene in a persons regulatory system. These regulatory systems facilitate various processes. As Camarillo-Abad et al (2021) explain, the learning process involves psychomotor abilities, which are the cognitive part of motor learning (p. 411). One of the big impacts on learners health due to wearable devices is that this technology helps to mediate skill-transfer in human-human interaction (Camarillo-Abad et al., 2021), thus improving the learners cognitive and physical health in an educative sense. As they are non-invasive devices, they are typically characterized as being compact, comfortable to wear, esthetically pleasing, and have low power consumption (Camarillo-Abad et al., 2021, p. 412). Rodriguez et al. (2019) note that automatic classification of daily activities can be used to promote health-enhancing physical activity and a healthier lifestyle (p. 3). As monitoring sensors can detect changes in regulatory systems within the body, they are useful tools in promoting the health of learners. Physical activity is important to learners of all ages, and wearable devices have been shown to support physical activity by assessing physiological and kinematic signals of the body during exercise (Rodriguez et al., 2019, p. 3). Thus, the overall impact of wearable devices on learners health has been found to be positive.
Wearable devices have been popularized by brands such as Apple, which introduced the Apple iWatch. The iWatch is a wearable device that can monitor various functions of the body, such as counting steps or the rate of ones heart beat, while also offering the wearer the ability to communicate with others. The device is one example of how wearable technology has become integrated into the lives of people. Google Glass is another example. This is an example of wearable technology that allows one to capture video from ones glasses. Wearable technology is a popular trend in the marketplace, and its utility has been embraced by people who have active lives. For learners and educators, it offers a welcome opportunity to enhance the educational process and promote the health of learners (Carroll et al., 2020). In the area of sports learning, wearable devices have been introduced, for example, to help golf learners improve their golf swing (Rodriguez et al., 2019, p. 3). Wearable devices are being researched, developed and implemented in the area of sports training, as they help learners to understand better the extent to which they are maintaining a proper balance, stance, or position when engaging in the physical exercise of the sport (Rodriguez et al., 2019). Since physical activity is linked to health, wearable devices are thus associated with improving learners health in this regard.
Researchers have pointed to wearable devices as another way to measure student engagement beyond self-reported surveys, which do not always provide sufficient information to educators about how well students are engaged by the course or the presentation of course material (Carroll et al., 2020). Wearable devices are also being used to facilitate the development of childrens creativity: augmented reality, combined with wearable technology, has the potential to benefit students learning in different environments (Rodriguez et al., 2019, p. 3). However, as Nugent et al. (2019) point out, there remains the need to balance functional (engineering) and aesthetic design thinking in the creation of wearable technology products (p.477). If wearable devices are too cumbersome, they might offset any practical gain in the students development. For that reason, trends in this research are focusing on how to create wearable devices that are comfortable, barely noticeable, and functional (Camarillo-Abad et al., 2021).
Wearable technology has a great deal of utility in facilitating the learning process and improving learners health through monitoring of learners engagement, learners motions, and learners functions. Physical and cognitive development is crucial to the strengthening of learners health, and wearable devices have been found to assist in this process. Educators cannot always know how well students are engaged when distance learning is in effect, but wearable devices can monitor engagement and provide excellent feedback to educators about their own approaches. Wearable devices can help learners to obtain skills in human-human interaction, and they can help learners with disabilities engage more readily with non-disabled learners. They can help in physical learning, particularly in sports, as well, which promotes learner health.
Camarillo-Abad, H. M., Snchez, J. A., & Starostenko, O. (2021). An environment for
motor skill transfer based on wearable haptic communication.Personal and Ubiquitous Computing,25(2), 411-435.
Carroll, M., Ruble, M., Dranias, M., Rebensky, S., Chaparro, M., Chiang, J., & Winslow,
B. (2020). Automatic Detection of Learner Engagement Using Machine Learning and Wearable Sensors.Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science,10(3), 165-178.
Nugent, G., Barker, B., Lester, H., Grandgenett, N., & Valentine, D. (2019). Wearable
textiles to support student STEM learning and attitudes.Journal of Science Education and Technology,28(5), 470-479.
Rodriguez, D. Z., de Oliveira, F. M., Nunes, P. H., & de Morais, R. M. A (2019).
Wearable Devices: Concepts and Applications.INFOCOMP Journal of Computer Science,18(2).
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